makaus

This Time Around

Steve have come to know Danny better than anyone in his life, he knew his facial expressions, tones and neuroses. The man is now so interwoven in Steve’s life they even share an organ. 

That is why he knows Danny won’t leave Rachel or the children, all alone when Stan was definitely leaving Hawai’i and severing the familial ties that held him there. He knows his partner would be there to support them, because that was Danny at the end of the day; devoted to those he cared about. 

The possibility of Rachel being in love with Danny, after all the history between them weighted heavy on Steve’s mind. That and Harry’s observation of how Danny said he had a “girlfriend I like.” Not love but like. It weighted uneasy atop Steve’s shoulder, because after 3 years together he still couldn’t say he loved Melissa…

Steve enjoyed his night out with Harry, listening to stories about his father put his “Danny Worries” in the back of his mind even for a while. He even accepted the hard-boiled former P.I.’s ribbing about his relationship with his partner. “Kid, you’re more married to muscles than I was to any of my ex-wives.”

Steve laughed it up but he didn’t deny it. It was true, and with that in mind he made his way home; where the waves broke ashore, and the sea surrounded him and he could let his mind wonder.

And oh boy, does it ever.

He starts with their latest misadventure: The dirty bomb and the process of surviving it “I love you, bro.” (Goodness, it was impossible not to wince at that), their “Valentine’s day” retreat with their girlfriends “I don’t want her to think I’m an antisocial weirdo.” - “But you’re an antisocial weirdo.” (Steve likes that about Danny and how come Melissa hadn’t realized that after all this time?), Meeting Bridget “heard a lot about you.”- “I love your mother.” (He did love Clara and The Williams’s gang. They were loud and colorful and warm), Max leaving “You don’t have to dance with me tonight.” The poker game and Grace’s dance (and fuck he’d been terrified, so so scared about them.) “I’d give you a kiss, I’d give you a hug. Pick a base.” Morocco and his mother and Catherine, and London with a spy, and the roof of the hotel while he chased a manipulated serial killer “Steve, stop!” (He did, he stopped…because Danny said so.)

The further back he went, the more Danny; he followed the wisps of connection and pulled on the strands of memory…The plane (he remembers very little but the immediacy of dying and the need to let Danny know. Apparently, Danny had copied a stunt out of his playbook to save him, to save the day and make sure Steve’s promise was fulfilled- even when they have been…) Deb dying, The CIA, Colombia (Matt, goddamn that had almost broken Danny), Charlie’s illness, the explosion and the fucking building collapsed on top of them, Afghanistan, North Korea…Hawai’i “Buddy, your dad died 4 years ago.”  (It almost broke him!) “ Listen to me. I’m gonna get you out of this thing.” (he did, and it cost him Charlie for 3 long years. Oh god!)

Steve threw his head back and groaned. Back then he ignored a very radical core truth, put a stopper in it before it overflowed because he’d seen Rachel cuddling with Danny; he’d stopped himself then, and afterward he couldn’t backtrack, along the way, they have grown in closer and more. 

And…

And…

And…

The lock turned and Steve moved his head sideways, there was only one person with keys to his house; Danny.

He looked pensive just like in the morning, his bottom lip plump from where he had bitten it in deep thought. “Hey, babe.”

“How did it go?” He asks as Danny takes a seat beside him. They’re close enough that Steve can wrap his arm around Danny’s shoulder, so he does. 

“It sucked.” Danny huffs and melts against Steve’s side. “It sucked, but they are a strong bunch and…”

Steve waited him out, Danny just had to find his words. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have come over. Steve tightens his hold on Danny and prods. “And?”

“I think Stan might be right.” He doesn’t sound ecstatic, or pissed. He sounds and looks uncertain, a little bit lost.

Steve fights the urge to tense up, but Danny feels it anyway. It’s Danny, and goddamnit! Danny turns and then they’re looking at each other less than a foot apart and Steve realizes that no matter what their bond had always been infused in More and Mine and Always. 

Don’t.” He says but is a plea and they both hear it. “Danny, don’t.”

“I won’t,” Danny whispers like a secret and a promise. “I won’t, Steve.”

Steve wraps his fingers around Danny’s nape and brings their foreheads together. He sees Danny close his eyes and feels his hand around the arm holding him. Steve closes his eyes and they breathe in as one. He can’t help but smile because Danny had learned Hawaiian customs and had made a home of this island and family out of Steve. 

He wouldn’t kiss Danny yet, he wants to do this right, he wants to make it perfectly clear that he’d found his harbor and this time around he wasn’t going to pass it by. Lovely, English ex-wife be damned.

Originally, the West did not create the human rights movement in order to save or civilize non-Europeans… […] Neither the enslavement of Africans, with its barbaric consequences and genocidal dimensions, nor the classic colonization of Asians, Africans, and Latin Americans by Europeans, with its bone-chilling atrocities, was sufficient to move the West to create the human rights movement. It took the genocidal extermination of Jews in Europe - a white people - to start the process of the codification and universalization of human rights norms. […] …no one should miss the irony of brutalizing colonial powers pushing for the Nuremberg trials and the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
—  Human Rights: A Political and Cultural Critique by Makau Mutua

Homophobia in Africa represents a set of complex and intersecting issues – deeply routed in the continent’s colonial past. Violent inscriptions of race, sexuality, ethnicity and gender took place under colonialism and are linked to present-day norms around sexuality. These historical continuities, and how sexuality is racialised, are mostly entirely absent in discussions on homophobia.

Drawing on the ‘savages-victims-saviours’ construct of law professor Makau Mutua (pdf), the west has a keen interest in homophobia that is often framed within these sets of relations. Lurking within much of the public discourse on homophobia in Africa is the notion of the civilising mission of Eurocentric culture (and its human rights frameworks) that will save African culture, and the victims thereof, from its barbarism and its savagery.

One example of this is a recently launched online fundraising effort initiated in the US.

It is a “Rescue fund to help LGBT people escape Africa” and is aimed at “Gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people persecuted and trapped in African countries that criminalise their sexuality”. The campaign states that “by contributing to this Rescue Fund you will help me [the initiator of the fund] to save more gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people from Africa escape terrifying persecution.” An online counter shows the money is flowing in. If one donates to “save” an LGBTI person in Africa one is granted a status recognition originally titled as “ultimate saviour”. There are also prizes for donors such as “Nelson Mandela coins” for “passport providers”.

The forced flight of LGBTI from persecutory regimes will require interventions to provide places of refuge and safety. However, promoting an “escape” from Africa to “greener” US pastures, without simultaneously addressing the underlying conditions that force this migration, is dangerous and opportunistic. Dislocated from Africa-based struggles for social justice these feel-good interventions offer no long-term solution to the systemic issues that drive homophobia. At best they are palliative and patronising, at worst they reinforce the victimhood of Africans and the saviour status of westerners.

This is part of the logic that keeps the “homosexuality is un-African” discourse in play.